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TableHop! Beer brewing, wine making, for tabletop gamers (and general fermentation)


ABV is an interesting thing. A few years back I drank pints, so ABV was a big factor in my choice of pint. I’d drink session IPAs, pales, English bitters, sours, low ABV stouts and porters.

Now, however, with the crazy amount of tax duty slapped on beer by HM’s government (and yes, I know we have it better than most), my rampant curiosity about hop combinations and styles, I drink flights of very differing styles in most bars. It’s a pint and a third for about £7-8 but the beer can be truly brilliant. And that does nicely for me. In those thirds, high ABV beers feature often. I’m not worried by a high ABV, i just drink less.

This brew has come out higher than we wanted, but that’s cool.

I need a label designer type person now. Anyone know anyone?


I love flights, they’re a good casual way to get a lot of experience with flavor profiles.

As far as designers, I’d look to the submissions we’ve received for the t-shirt contest, maybe reach out to a few of those members.


Bottling day today.

Sadly, I’m on antibiotics for the longest chest infection ever so no beers for me.


53 bottles from the leaky batch. Tasted good, so looking forward to the carbonated product.


Fist bump :fist_right:




We’re on Untappd. Brewery name is Dealer’s Choice.

If you’re on Untappd, add me! It’s the reason social media exists. I am FunkJem there as well.


If you can make it to SHUX…

(jeeze, obviously I’m hoping you can sneak a bottle or two in, I’m sorry, I gave up on being subtle)


It’d be nice to get to SHUX but I struggle to make the 100 miles up the road to Birmingham most of the time, so a trip to Canada in term time would be a no go, sadly.


If I win the scratch-off I’ll order some bottles from you, and lavishly over-pay you for them.


Monkey Tennis Second Set turned out to be more of a belgian ale. It’s still sweet, so we think it may come in after 6 weeks. Not long to go, but good feedback from punters so far. Releasing brews at my annual barbeque seems like the way to go!

We’re on to designing the next brew. It’s going to be a lovely, dry, bitter, roasty stout. no coffee, no chocolate, no vanilla, just a straightforward sessionable stout. We’re aiming for 4.2% to 4.8% ABV. I’m going for the profile of one of the world’s best dry stouts, Plain Porter from the Porterhouse. The grain bill can be searched for online, but so far, here’s the basis of the recipe. We don’t do all grain, we use a kind of mini-mash thing.

  1. Prepare bag of grain.
  2. Get 15 litres water to 66-70 degrees C.
  3. Add bag for an hour. Like steeping tea!
  4. Add spray dry extract and bring to boil.
  5. Add hops when it boils.
  6. Cool to 30 degrees C
  7. Sparge with 8 litres lukewarm water.
  8. Add yeast.

Grain Bill

Pale Malt
Flaked Barley
Roast Barley
Crystal Malt

Sugar bill - We get this in spray dry malt extract form, the darkest one we can get

Black Malt

Hops Bill

60g East Kent Goldings First boil
50g Galena After 10 mins
40g Nugget After 20 mins


WLP004 - This yeast is from one of the oldest stout-producing breweries in the world. Medium attenuation helps with a dry finish promoting roasty notes.


Keep some Monkey Tennis (by god, what a great name for an ale) until you think it’ll be vinegar.

It might actually be vinegar! However, from what you’ve said so far, I don’t think that will happen, it will just be an ale with lots of personality, much different than when you first met it.

That’s one of the things I’ve always loved about brewing, your first taste when you think it might be “acceptable” (it’s not, but you can’t really wait any longer, it’s your baby and you love it!), and finding out weeks to months later that you had no idea what kind of monster you really brewed. The changes are so dramatic.

The temptation is to be impressed with yourselves, but that’s not right. Like any child, you did the best you could do to raise it right: fed it, coaxed it, gave it a loving home. Ultimately, though, what develops will change until it’s its own unique thing, with its own personality and character. It might not have been what you were going for, but you have to appreciate it all the same.

(Sorry, I just got all metaphorical for a moment because my son and I were eating fish and chips and arguing about veganism and malt vinegar.)

And if it does go sour (unlikely), it’s going to be one hell of a vinegar on some chips. This is really the greatest hobby, even if you screw up you win.


That’s a great idea. I’ll hold a few back for tasting down the line.

Does anyone have any ideas for the stout recipe? Grain bill percentages, hop bill percentages etc.? Any insight gratefully received.

Why am I craving fish and chips, now?


Once I get the stout to a high level, I am thinking about experimenting with imperial stout, in particular, Jamaican ginger cake stout. Any ideas on how to get the cake flavours in? I don’t want to use lactose as I’d like to keep my beers vegan (I’m not vegan, but I think making beer accessible to all is a good thing).


That’s a rough call, especially without lactose (honestly I’m not a fan of lactic beers, anyway. They’re fine, I’ve had many that were very good, both pale and dark, but none that really impressed me).

Maybe some clove and a tiny bit of star anise with the late boil hops? Lots and lots of malt, obviously, the heavier the better.

I really want to say fresh ground ginger in a hop-sock, but there’s a contamination issue. Dried never tastes as good, but it’s fairly sterile. However when you boil ginger it looses its character.

I’m not sure, Funk, my only experience with flavored beer has been with chilies (we made a terrible beer but a fantastic hot sauce, we put a few well-washed Thai peppers with tiny cuts in them into a few bottles while we were bottling an IPA, they were way too spicy to drink outright), and with “infused” beers from a local pub that has some kind of infusion contraption, so you can get an Abita or something with coriander or basil or whatever when it’s poured from the keg.

This isn’t exactly uncharted territory, but you may have to do a little improvisation.

(Remember, beer is hard to totally screw up. It may happen from time to time, and even if you rarely get exactly what you thought you would get, it usually turns out much better than whatever you worried it would become. Sure, that last sentence wasn’t the most elegant, but you get what I mean).


It’s tricky. My gut feeling is to introduce molasses and stem ginger to the mash, then boil with the hops. The other thing is to bake an actual cake, and crumble it into primary fermentation.

Either way there are sugar calculations to make for ABV’s sake.

I don’t know how to do that, but I think it’s worth a try.

Both methods, that is.


Crumbing in actual cake sounds like a fantastic experiment destined for a horrorshow of cleanup. So, um, send us pictures?

I worry about contamination with fresh ginger, as well, but perhaps crystallized could work? It has much more of the heat and quality of fresh that dried lacks. (Even the good stuff.) Boil it at least a little bit, both for rehydration and sanitization. Molasses ought to be fine, I reckon, but don’t go nuts. A little goes a long way.

You might also consider leaning more to a black cake style. Capturing the flavors of rum-soaked dried fruits seems more straightforward and less difficult. And could make one hell of a winter warmer, barleywine-style.


I had to look up the words “understatement” and “ambitious” just to make sure I had it right.

Oh, lord, yes!

All joking aside, as I’ve said (or at least implied, I hope) it’s either all going to go horribly wrong or amazingly right. The horribly wrong is, surprisingly, usually not the way things go when brewing as long as you maintain discipline of being clean and tidy and just leaving it alone and having patience. If something goes wrong, it’s probably not your fault! (or it is and you just chalk that up to experience).

Remember, both ginger and molasses have anti-microbial properties that can interfere with brewer’s yeast (although that’s never stopped anyone from making rum, and hops also have anti-microbial properties and that’s never stopped anyone from making beer).

Whatever you eventually make, maybe a 50/50 of a champagne and a beer yeast, let them fight it out? We’ve done that before a few times, it was amazing with one batch, and just “meh” with the others.


The understatement is one of Britain’s greatest gifts to the world.


And then there’s Morrissey.